Te Matatini: many faces young and old

Issue: Volume 94, Number 13

Posted: 27 July 2015
Reference #: 1H9cre

Kapa haka has become an important way for older generations to teach younger generations that commitment and teamwork results in success.

Inspiring success through generations

Kapa haka is an art form central to Māori identity.

The biennial national kapa haka competition organised by Te Matatini Kapa Haka Aotearoa provides the ultimate stage for the very best teams in the country to showcase their skills and talents from years of devotion learnt and practised at school, the marae and community halls.

The competition started in 1972, and was known then as the Polynesian Festival. It has a 42-year history of competitive kapa haka, with the most recent event held in March 2015 at Pūtaringamotu (Hagley Park North) in Christchurch.

Over these years, kapa haka has become an important way for older generations to teach young participants that commitment, teamwork and excellence results in success. Success can be about winning, but it can also be about performing an outstanding bracket, representing your rohe and whānau and staying true to your iwi and your way and style of performance.

The majesty of te matatini

Puamiria Parata-Goodall from Christchurch has competed in many regional and national kapa haka events since 1986. She says the art form helped her “to learn te reo, whakapapa, tikanga, me ngā kōrero o te hau kainga, o te ao Māori. I am hopeless at remembering whakapapa and stories. But, what I have found is, that if I can sing it, haka it, do a mōteatea about it, then I can recall it and pass that information on.”

Puamiria found it exhilarating, scary and truly humbling to perform at the Te Matatini festival hosted in her rohe.

“I won’t get a chance to do it again, I will be too old the next time it comes to Waitaha. I loved that our people in the south were finally able to see and feel the majesty which is Te Matatini and to experience a kapa competition of this calibre. Whānau finally understood why we worked so hard for months and months to get a spot on that stage.”

For Puamiria, the art form holds an important place in her family life.

“Kapa haka has always been a part of my life. My parents did haka, and I have performed with my sisters and brothers since I was little.”

Expressing the beauty of our culture and heritage

Te Arani Huia is in year 13 at Christchurch Girls’ High School and also performed at Te Matatini in 2015 with Te Ahikōmau a Hamoterangi. Te Arani put into action what she learnt under the tutelage of Tauira and Rangimārie Takurua, Puamiria Parata-Goodall and Ahikumeroa Ataria.

Te Arani says her motivation to compete in kapa haka is that “it brings people who are passionate about our Māori culture together. It also supports and brings together our Māori youth, celebrating who they are.”

Te Arani has performed at both regional and national levels and reaching Te Matatini was a highlight. Her passion for kapa haka drives her to keep participating. She loves representing not just herself, but her iwi, hapū and whānau too. “Kapa haka is an opportunity to express the beauty of my culture and heritage,” she says.

Waiariki Paraone is 17 and is head boy at Linwood College. He also performs with Te Ahikōmau a Hamoterangi and says his motivation to compete in kapa haka is “the love and passion for performing and the thrill of being alongside and meeting haka legends.”

Involvement in kapa haka has given Waiariki an advantage. It has enhanced his public speaking skills in both English and Māori and has fostered his love of performing and singing.

Waiariki and Te Arani have seen their excellent kapa haka talents take them overseas. They travelled with their kapa haka group, Te Ahikaaroa, to a festival in Lefkada, Greece in August 2014.

This trip was an exciting opportunity for both rangatahi. The experience enhanced their performances, grew their confidence and gave them a great sense of achievement.

Both Waiariki and Te Arani plan to go on to university when they finish school and want to continue their active involvement in kapa haka – hopefully performing at future Te Matatini festivals!

See performances of Te Ahikōmau a Hamoterangi(external link), along with more information and media.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 6:05 pm, 27 July 2015

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